Are You Hungry? Or Just Thirsty?


Did you know a hunger cue is the same as a thirst cue? It’s true. And it’s another eye-opening tip I provided the Avagliano family.  Because the signal your body sends when it wants a tall glass of water can be mistaken for the sign it sends when you need a snack, you have to react wisely to save yourself hundreds of calories. Your best bet: have a drink first, wait to see if you’re satisfied and then eat if you are still hungry.

You can avoid cue-confusion by staying hydrated in general. How much water should you be drinking every day? According to the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, the average adult loses about 10 cups of water daily. You’ll need to replenish at least this. If you are a smaller person, you may need less. If you’re a bigger person or you’re sweating a lot due to exercise or the weather then you’ll need more.

That probably sounds like a lot. But consider this: You could survive without food for a month or so. When it comes to water, you probably couldn’t last longer than a week. Water is essential and is needed in almost every part of the body including the cells, tissues, and organs.

How much water do you drink in a day? Post a comment here and tell me.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Peggy, Week 6: An Eco-Friendly Reason to Drink More Water

This month we got a special delivery courtesy of the Healthy Family Challenge: a SodaStream. This home soda maker turns tap water into sparkling water. Add in one of the 30+ different types of syrups they offer and you could be drinking anything from cola to ginger ale to kiwi strawberry sparkling tea to mint-flavored seltzer.

Given that this month’s challenge was to decrease our intake of sugar-sweetened and caffeinated beverages, we only got sent the unsweetened MyWater Flavor Essences (to make seltzer flavored like lemon-lime, for example).

A surprising benefit of the SodaStream: It allows you to enjoy your favorite flavors and decrease your carbon footprint. That’s a big plus to my youngest, and most environmentally conscious daughter, Amanda. By making seltzer or soda at home, you are decreasing the pollution caused by the transport of the bottled soda to the store and the packaging waste from the cans and bottles in our landfills!

Making soda at home is easier than buying it at the store as well. That’s because you don’t have to lug the heavy bottles home! And, of course, you save cash too!

Would you ever try a product like this? Post a comment and let me know.

Peggy, Week 5: 3 Truths About Drinking More Water

Sigg water bottle

Most of us know that we should drink more water, and less of everything else, so it is not surprising to learn that this month’s challenge is to up our H20 intake. To help us get into the habit, Family Circle asked Sigg to send us some aluminum water bottles. Each of us had the opportunity to choose our favorite bottle from their website.

Amanda chose the Return to Nature theme. At fifteen, she is our most environmentally conscious family member; reminding us all to turn off lights and to reuse and recycle. Michael took the Tribal theme; Peter picked Interference; and I selected Balancing Act.

The Pros: These water bottles are pretty. The water stays cold within them for a long time. The screw cap does not leak.

The Cons: The screw is better suited for a hike in the woods or a sip at your desk. It’s hard to get the top on and off when you’re in the middle of exercising at the gym. Overall, I with the bottle had a pull top lid.

The bottles helped my family be more mindful of the amount of water that we’re drinking. We know it’s important so we’re trying to improve. So far, I’ve found there are three truths when it comes to increasing your daily water intake:

1)      You will want to drink water if you work out.

2)      You can decrease the amount of food you want to eat, by drinking water before you eat

3)      You have to think about drinking water, to really change your habits. (I alternate hot tea and water at work)

We are all supposed to continue to eat fruits and vegetables while adding at least 8 glasses of water. The idea is to slowly change our habits and we’re getting there.

Have you been successful increasing the amount of water you drink in a day? What worked for you? Post a comment and tell me here!

Tiffany, Week 5: My Best Tips for Drinking More Water

tiffany lehman

People often ask me: “How do you drink so much water?”

I started increasing my water intake in 1997 when Andy and I were engaged. Ladies, if you’ve planned a wedding, you know how stressful the time before the big day can be. Everything has to be perfect and all eyes are always on the bride. I remember reading something that said drinking water would help cleanse, detoxify and distress my body and make my skin glowing for the big day. That’s what I needed! I wanted less stress and flawless skin for my wedding day and the ceremony pictures. (Funny how vanity will always win! Ha!)

But I was a big diet cola drinker. I would drink about four 12-ounce cans a day along with my coffee in the morning. Needless to say I was pretty dehydrated and at times my skin would look dull because of lack of proper hydration.

So I used a reward system. I decided to only allow myself 8 ounces of coffee in the morning and a 12-ounce can of diet cola with lunch. I told myself I had to drink at least three 8-ounce glasses of water between my coffee and noontime diet cola. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t allow myself to drink the diet cola.

You know how soda can make you feel bloated and gassy? Well within just a month of doing this, I got to a point where I just didn’t want the diet cola anymore but I wanted water. I’ll admit, in the beginning I was always visiting the ladies room but it didn’t take long for my body to adjust and my body to need the water so I’ve just maintained my consumption and increased it. Today it’s normal for me to drink at least a gallon a day. If I’ve had a hard core work out about a gallon and a half.

Here’s my best advice on how to drink more water:

  1. Always have a bottle of water with you and keep it full.
  2. Take a drink between every bite during your meals.
  3. At work, keep a tally of how much water you’ve had on a Post-it note at your desk. Make it a goal to leave the office at the end of your day with 4 to 6 hash marks.
  4. If you have to, set an alarm that reminds you to drink water.

I hope I’ve helped. Post a comment and let me know what you do to drink more water each day.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

water “Eat your calories, don’t drink them.” That’s the first suggestion I gave the Avagliano family this month. Challenge #2 is all about hydration. They’ve been asked to decrease their consumption of sugar-sweetened and caffeinated beverages and up their intake of water.

But don’t be fooled. This challenge isn’t about deprivation. It’s about smart substitutions. You can skip having coffee with sweetened vanilla milk and have coffee with skim or 1% milk instead to save calories. You can avoid fruit juice and instead eat the fruit (with all the nutrients and fiber to boot) to help you lose weight.

Willing to go “cold turkey?” There are plenty of options. Consider unsweetened herbal teas and seltzer. And, of course, there’s plain water. All three are great ways to hydrate your body and keep energy levels high.

If plain water is too boring for you, spice it up by adding some citrus fruit. Orange, lemon, lime or even grapefruit work well. Throw in the slices so you can eat the fruit when the water is all finished. Cucumber, fresh raspberries and mint are also nice. I personally love a cold bubbly seltzer with a squirt of a Meyer lemon to quench my thirst!

What’s your favorite way to add flavor to water? Post a comment and let me know!

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.